Thursday, October 05, 2006


Every October, I cram six pairs of shoes and clothing for two weeks into my suitcase and head to Murrieta, Californa for three nights and three days of refreshment. Don't say a word about the extra clothing. All women know you must pack for both mood and weather.

Today I'm back from our annual Calvary Chapel Pastors' Wives Conference. The suitcase awaits unpacking, but my thoughts are not on the reorganization of my closet this morning. Instead, I'm enjoying the after-glow of a brief respite with 900 of my closest sisters.

Our bonds deepen every year as we share more tears together, more worship, more prayers, more understanding of the God who called us and who loves us. And every year, I think the exact same thought when I arrive at the gate and hear one of the 600 Bible students say, "Welcome to the conference. God bless you." I think, This must be what heaven will be like. There's no other time when I know that every heart I pass and every smile that greets me belongs to someone who loves Jesus as I do.

Today, I'm missing heaven.

But I know that God called me away for those sixty-some hours so that I could get a refilling of the passion and joy I'll need for the coming year. There's still work to be done. God's heaven is ahead somewhere; my Murrieta-heaven-on-earth will be waiting next October; but while I pass the time waiting for both, I've been called to a task. We were reminded of that calling and that responsibility by every speaker this year. "Love the sheep. Tend the sheep. Feed the sheep."

What a privilege. To serve God is enough; but ours is a God who not only calls us into service, but blesses us while we serve and rewards us when our service is ended. Sandy MacIntosh (wife of Pastor Mike MacIntosh) introduced our Bible passage in the first session:

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

--1 Peter 5:1-11 NKJV

We were reminded by Sandy, June Hesterly, Cheryl Brodersen, and Jean McClure that the ministry brings suffering. It's the nature of tending God's people, pure and simple. But the Chief Shepherd knows our suffering and uses it to perfect, establish, strenghten and settle us. And one day -- maybe one day soon -- He will appear again. The God of all grace will bring with Him a crown of glory, and we will forget the suffering in an instant.

May He come today.

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6 Comment:

At 10/05/2006 3:00 PM, Anonymous Diane had this to say ...

I am so glad that you were refreshed and encouraged by the Lord. I was praying for you and L. and could hardly wait for you to come back and tell me all about it. From what I have heard it was awesome!

Glad you're back! Want details! ;)

See you later!Diane

At 10/06/2006 12:32 PM, Blogger Lauren had this to say ...

After living in the Temecula/Murrieta area for nine years, it was kind of exciting to hear that you go there every year. A couple of my sister-in-laws who attend the Murrieta CC and Costa Mesa CC both attend many retreats at the former Murrieta Hot Springs and always say things much like you've said here. I moved out-of-state and was never able to enjoy that bit of heaven. So glad you've been refreshed in Spirit.

At 10/06/2006 12:49 PM, Blogger BoringTales had this to say ...

Sounds like you had a really good time! I wonder if our old Pastor's wife went, Kim Chikeles? Sound familiar? :) You can remember all 900 names can't you?

At 10/06/2006 2:39 PM, Blogger Faerylandmom had this to say ...

I have no idea what to say, since I don't know you. All I know is that the Lord is using your blog in a very busy SAHM's life. Thanks.

At 10/06/2006 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

What an awesome conference! It was so refreshing to be among women who share the same struggles as we do and to rejoice in the privilage of serving the awesome Lord we serve. He is a soveriegn God that cares about our deepest, darkest struggles and one day, Lord willing soon, we will meet Him face to face and receive our crown! Good to see you at the conference. You always have such a sweet spirit and I am truly blessed to have a friend like you. Please keep in touch and maybe we can meet half way sometime for lunch (when it isn't snowing on the pass). Love you my friend and Lord bless you as you serve Him! Antoinette

At 10/07/2006 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

What a gorgeous picture! I used to drive past Murrieta often when I lived in Southern California, and from the freeway it didn't look like that to me... Now Tahoe? Yep, I'd-a gone there. :) I'm so glad you had a wonderful, spiritually refreshing time. You certainly stay on the road a lot!


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